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Up to 5 in a group allowed from Jun 14; dining-in may resume on Jun 21 in phased easing of COVID-19 curbs

Singapore will move back to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) in two steps from Jun 14 after a fall in the number of COVID-19 community cases.

Up to 5 in a group allowed from Jun 14; dining-in may resume on Jun 21 in phased easing of COVID-19 curbs

Members of public wearing protective face masks at Orchard Road in Singapore on Sep 4, 2020. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: The limit on group sizes for social gatherings will be increased from two to five people from Jun 14, as Singapore begins to ease restrictions after a fall in the number of COVID-19 community cases.    

Similarly, five distinct visitors per household daily will be allowed. Social gatherings should be limited to no more than two a day, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Jun 10).

This is the first step in Singapore's plan to move back to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from Jun 14, the ministry announced.

More restrictions will be eased in the second step from Jun 21, when dining in can resume if the COVID-19 situation remains under control in the coming weeks. 

READ: Singapore eases COVID-19 restrictions in two phases: What is allowed and when

READ: Working from home to remain as default; Jobs Support Scheme extended for certain sectors

On why dining-in will only be allowed later, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force Gan Kim Yong said that the Government wants to make sure that the situation is “stable” before allowing dining-in to resume.

“Dining is considered a high-risk activity because masks are off,” he said during a press conference.

F&B outlets must strictly observe at least 1m safe distancing between groups of diners of no more than five people, said MOH in a media release. 

“We will be significantly stepping up enforcement and will take firmer enforcement action for any breaches," it added. "Patrons are reminded to keep their masks on at all times, except when eating or drinking.”

WEDDING RECEPTIONS, FITNESS AND TUITION CLASSES

Wedding receptions, which are currently not allowed, will be able to resume from Jun 21. For receptions with up to 100 attendees - including the wedding couple but excluding vendors - pre-event testing is required.

For marriage solemnisations, capacity limits will be increased from Jun 14. A maximum of 250 attendees will be allowed with pre-event testing, up from the current limit of 100. 

READ: Singaporeans aged 12 to 39 can register for COVID-19 vaccination from Jun 11

Gyms and fitness studios may also resume indoor sports activities with masks off from Jun 21, with safe distancing of at least 2m between individuals and at least 3m between groups of up to five people.

Sports classes - both indoors and outdoors - will be capped at 30 people including the instructor, in groups of no more than five people.

"Class participants may unmask if they are engaging in strenuous activities, although they are strongly encouraged to remain masked where possible to reduce the risk of transmission," said MOH.

In-person tuition and enrichment classes for those aged 18 and below will be allowed to resume from Jun 21 with enhanced safe management measures, which will be announced by the Education Ministry.

LARGER EVENT SIZES, CAPACITY LIMITS

The operating capacity of attractions, including the two cruises, that have received prior approval from the authorities will be increased from the current limit of 25 per cent to 50 per cent from Jun 14. Museums and public libraries will also be allowed to operate at an increased capacity of 50 per cent.

For live performances and MICE events, a maximum of 250 attendees will be allowed from Jun 14 with pre-event testing, up from the current limit of 100. From Jun 21, singing and playing of instruments at these events will be allowed.

Similarly, spectators sports may resume from Jun 14, with up to 250 attendees if pre-event testing is conducted.

For mass participatory sports events, they may resume from Jun 21.

READ: COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits for self-testing to be 'sold by pharmacists' from Jun 16: MOH

The increased 250-person limit with pre-event testing also applies to congregational and other worship services from Jun 14. And from Jun 21, singing, as well as wind and brass instruments for live performances will be allowed. 

To minimise the likelihood of large infection clusters, pre-event testing remains an “essential” measure to ensure that events can proceed safely, MOH said.

Pre-event testing is not required for events with fewer than 50 people.

The easing of rules comes as the number of COVID-19 cases, both linked and unlinked, has fallen “progressively” over the last few weeks, Mr Gan said.

“Fewer clusters are emerging, and generally smaller clusters," he said. "Our aggressive tracking and testing regimes have also allowed us to detect and ringfence potential cases, much earlier, slowing down, and limiting the transmission in the community."

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Source: CNA/ja(gs)

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